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D&D General My Problem(s) With Halflings, and How To Create Engaging/Interesting Fantasy Races

Yeah, me too. I never understood the appeal. Unlike halflings, they're not even cute!


To you. And to me*. But I can assure you emulating Tolkien is a feature, not a bug to many people.

(*I love Tolkien, I'm bored with humdrum Tolkien pastiches though. Been there, done that.)


Seriously, what's this obsession with FR? To be incredibly charitable it is a mediocre generic fantasy setting whose defining feature is that it's a kitchen sink of fantasy tropes. Saying that some random trope has no place in FR is just silly. Halflings are a common fantasy trope, of course they belong to FR!
it is for some reason the base setting and we thus half to deal with it.
Yeah, me too. I never understood the appeal. Unlike halflings, they're not even cute!


To you. And to me*. But I can assure you emulating Tolkien is a feature, not a bug to many people.

(*I love Tolkien, I'm bored with humdrum Tolkien pastiches though. Been there, done that.)


Seriously, what's this obsession with FR? To be incredibly charitable it is a mediocre generic fantasy setting whose defining feature is that it's a kitchen sink of fantasy tropes. Saying that some random trope has no place in FR is just silly. Halflings are a common fantasy trope, of course they belong to FR!
I like bits of dwarf but that is liveing in a giant underground fortress as that has a classic appeal to me.
Hey, I prefer having Lizardman and Snake people, but I would not put them in a core book either, but a S&S supplement. What I want is a basic set (or book) like the free 5e set on the website (if it has not been updated) and the modular theme books that can be used as add-ons or standalones.
then what do you want as core?
 

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Greg K

Adventurer
then what do you want as core?
For me, the core races and classes are those in the free 5e starter set on the website (if it has not since been updated): Dwarf, Elf, Halfling,Human, Cleric, Fighter, Rogue, Wizard are core D&D (even my preference is to replace rework the cleric and replace the Wizard with another arcane spellcaster and add gnome (ok, maybe add the gnome to the list))
 
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Mercurius

Legend
If they saw the 3E selection of races, I can assure you that's exactly what they'd say.
How so? What's wrong with 3E races, from the perspective of a younger player?
Tieflings and Dragonborn probably save matters, but it's unhelpful to have halflings and not, say, kobolds.
I kind of see D&D races as coming in two waves: the first being the traditional Tolkien and mythology inspired, the second being derived more from media like video games and anime, as well as books that are influenced by such media. The transitional periods seems to be 3.5, and becoming more solidified with 4E (with dragonborn and tieflings in the PHB). Anyhow, I would think that the halfling/kobold preference divide would have something to do with these two waves. This is not to say that all older players prefer halflings and all younger players prefer kobolds, but rather that tastes are developed by influences.

Speaking for myself, I never got into video games (except for the occasional app or game of tetris) - I generally don't like them. Similarly to anime, and a lot of "geek culture" media. My taste influences are more from books and mythology, so tend to prefer the first wave races and dislike the more recent stuff, (with a few exceptions: I like aasimar/deva and genasi, for instance).

As discussed above, I also think in terms of "thematic tones" vs. "full color palette/anything goes," and generally prefer the former - although can enjoy the latter, if done well. By way of example, I would contrast Talislanta and the Forgotten Realms. Talislanta has dozens of races, but somehow it all makes sense - the setting was designed with that in mind, so it feels organic. The FR, on the other hand, seems to want to be too many things at once: both a classic D&D world, but also an anything goes gonzo affair. I still like the Realms and it works fine from a purely gaming perspective, but it doesn't have the same cohesive aesthetic that I appreciate from a worldbuilding perspective.
 

Yaarel

Legend
Heh. Even tho the D&D Elf is kinda Human, it still has the glamor of being a superhuman − a magical supermodel who can handle a sword.

In this sense, the Elf brings something salient to the foreground of the setting, and it is probably why the Elf still enjoys popularity as a lineage.
 



Mercurius

Legend
Truly vile. Also kind of somehow incredibly insulting to make something so British, Swedish.
Maybe I missed something, but why is that "truly vile?" I personally don't like the idea and think it is kind of silly (I think that's intentional), but don't see why it is "vile" - which is a very strong word.

I also don't see how it is "incredibly insulting," especially considering that D&D halflings aren't inherently British because they're not Tolkienian Hobbits. D&D halflings can be any number of things, and have been depicted as such.
 



Heh. Even tho the D&D Elf is kinda Human, it still has the glamor of being a superhuman − a magical supermodel who can handle a sword.
Eh. Humans can be supermodels and can handle swords and in a fantasy world they can also be magic.

In this sense, the Elf brings something salient to the foreground of the setting, and it is probably why the Elf still enjoys popularity as a lineage.
Basic fantasy elves are pretty meh. Like I get it, I want to play pretty characters too, but elves really don't have much going for them. If they wouldn't exists people could just play humans or whatever who are pretty.

Most interesting thing about elves is their long lifespan, but that's actually just awkward in your normal D&D. Either the starting level one character is super old and it is weird that they're still level one, or they're not and the campaign will not take so much in game time that their long lifespan would matter. It would be an interesting thing to explore in a story, but doesn't really work so well in a game like D&D.
 
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Faolyn

Hero
I honestly suspect halfings are kept around out of nostalgia more than need, gnomes fit better and you can Thanos gnomes and few would care.
I was in a game one with a DM who really hated gnomes. There were no gnomes in his world, and if one was somehow summoned into it, the DM claimed it would explode.

We decided that fireball was actually summon gnome and that meteor swarm was mass summon gnome.
 


I was in a game one with a DM who really hated gnomes. There were no gnomes in his world, and if one was somehow summoned into it, the DM claimed it would explode.

We decided that fireball was actually summon gnome and that meteor swarm was mass summon gnome.
what else happened?
 




Faolyn

Hero
I find the thought of replacing (substituting?) goblins or kobolds for halflings really odd - the races just aren't equivalent.

Halflings (in most settings) are enjoyers of their comforts, fine things, usually the status quo. A halfling adventurer is one who is unusual because they are bored of such things (which would make them stand out) or because they were artificially thrust from their safe environment.

Goblins an kobolds are known to have brutal home lives where the focus is on survival (be it from external threats or that of other members of the tribe) rather than any kind of comfortable existence.
Now I'm tempted to try anyway.

Everyone is saying that halflings are pastoral, that they live in a bucolic bliss. Well, what if your goblins or kobolds are like that, but instead of getting the wonderful, temperate, rolling English-style countryside, they get the part of the Dustbowl part of the world, with droughts, locusts, tornadoes and that sort of stuff? That's a good way to combine the "brutal homes where the focus is on survival" with the "people who enjoy comfort and the status quo."
 

The past three editions made humans super 'the special'
rs_560x273-141219144957-tumblr_n1px0ih6y21rvr4jho1_500.gif
 

Maybe I missed something, but why is that "truly vile?" I personally don't like the idea and think it is kind of silly (I think that's intentional), but don't see why it is "vile" - which is a very strong word.

I also don't see how it is "incredibly insulting," especially considering that D&D halflings aren't inherently British because they're not Tolkienian Hobbits. D&D halflings can be any number of things, and have been depicted as such.
They were jokes, son.
 

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